University of Michigan
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September 21, 2018

U-M, MEDC launch crowdfunding effort for Detroit maker space

June 10, 2015

U-M, MEDC launch crowdfunding effort for Detroit maker space

The Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. have launched a new campaign to help transform a vacant Detroit building into a place where youth and adults can build their creative making skills and incubate business ideas.

The campaign, through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity, seeks to help create the Brightmoor Maker Space out of an empty 3,200-square-foot building on the Detroit Community Schools campus.

The Stamps School's partnership with the MEDC follows an endorsement last fall from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which awarded the Stamps School a two-year $100,000 matching grant for the project as part of the prestigious Knight Arts Challenge program in Detroit.

"This funding will allow us to officially move forward with our plans to provide a much-needed physical space that will expand the impact of our ongoing arts programming in the Brightmoor community," said Gunalan Nadarajan, dean of the Stamps School.

Nadarajan said that over the past five years, Stamps students, faculty and staff have been working actively with the Brightmoor community, developing strong arts programming with Detroit Community Schools (a K-12 charter school) and community organizations such as Brightmoor Alliance and Neighbors Building Brightmoor.

"Stamps is committed to being a part of the re-imagining of Detroit that is underway across the city, and fostering the role of creative making in that revitalization," Nadarajan said.

If the Patronicity crowdfunding goal of $25,000 is met by July 10, the match from the MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places program would activate an initial $50,000 Knight Arts Challenge Grant to launch Brightmoor's first year of active programming.

"The Brightmoor Maker Space will open all kinds of new doors to youth and adults in the Brightmoor neighborhood that would not otherwise be accessible, and we're pleased to partner in this effort," said MEDC Community Development Director Katharine Czarnecki. "Public Spaces Community Places is a key tool that the MEDC has to help community partners fill critical funding gaps and bring projects to completion."

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League and Patronicity, where local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and receive a matching grant from MEDC.

Funds collected for the Brightmoor Maker Space will be used to repair and update the vacant building, purchase equipment and work tools, and develop community resources and programs to support skills-building, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Every dollar donated to the Patronicity campaign will essentially be quadrupled by the two matching grants.